29 September 2010

A's Dream // Shurin in Buffalo, 2006

I had the chance to spend some time with Aaron Shurin this past weekend while Myung was in town, which is always a great treat! Leslie reprinted Aaron's A's Dream with O Books right before she passed, and his copies have been sitting in my basement ever since; I was relieved to finally get them in his hands, and it was nice to pass the book around a large table at Caffe Trieste to many admiring Ooooos and Ahaaaas. I found my copy of A's Dream at Greywolf Books (where I found most of my early O Books), a massive book warehouse in San Leandro that has long since shut its doors. It was my first exposure to Aaron's project, and I've been fully committed since. Which is just to say that this stone cold classic is available in a beautiful new edition at SPD now!

To pique your interest, I thought to post an introduction I wrote for Aaron way back in 2006 which references A's Dream. I invited Susan Gevirtz and Shurin to visit Buffalo in the dead of winter, and I introduced them both in a below-freezing-ex-meat-locker-turned-art-space to chattering teeth. Aaron read mostly from Involuntary Lyrics, which immediately warmed up the room!

Here's the introduction:

Aaron Shurin writes, in his seminal essay Narrativity, “I would like to drop my ‘characters’ onto the sharpened point of a gemstone, so that the radial fractures would illuminate a comprehensive pluralistic image.” I imagine here a kind of cubist simultaneity that suggests, as Shurin has it, “that self itself may not be locatable along… a monochromatic line.” In order to genuinely capture this comprehensive voice, Shurin found, as did many other writers in the late eighties and early nineties, that the prose poem offered a privileged form to investigate “a writing…of enmeshed simultaneities, which gives sufficient weight to…constituent presences so that they verge upon each other.” Unlike his peers, however, who after the New Sentence were all parataxis and no bite, Shurin’s prose lines developed a kind of “transgressive propulsiveness” that, rather than strip the subject down to the materiality of her language, amplified her propensity to refract into a plethora of subjectivities with any number of erotic, political, and psychical exigencies at stake, so that, finally, every name in history is Aaron. Steve Silberman writes, in a review of Shurin’s A’s Dream (published by O Books in 1989, the very year Narrativity was first delivered as a talk):

"Shurin’s particular gift is to allow several voices – sensual, intellectual, ‘dishy,’ coyly evasive – to speak in the same word or phrase, and to have the whole seem lit from behind by a gnostic apprehension of the essences of things. Shurin is, at heart, a Romantic: his ambition is less to dissect than to ravish, to worship more than instruct."

And just as John Donne is set free by a kind of divine ravishment in his Holy Sonnets, Shurin’s readers, as he has it, “stand fulfilled by transgression.” Take for instance the poem “Artery” from A’s Dream:

desire increase, riper memory to fuel deep trenches in the face repair
the world, calls back prime image. summer on him there, what it
was, breed another ten for one. one mutual ordering in the world
an end in that bosom. love to any should change another self, flesh
blood would make the world away. violet past white you are your
sweet yourself again…

“Artery,” Silberman informs us, was generated using only the lexicon of Shakespeare’s sonnets. Interestingly, Shurin returns to the sonnets, in his quite remarkable collection, Involuntary Lyrics (published by Omnidawn in 2005) in order precisely to retreat from the prose poem and “wonder a way back to verse.” Shurin writes in his afterward, “Each 'Involuntary Lyric' ends its lines with the same words as a correspondingly numbered Shakespeare sonnet—though these rhyme-words have been shuffled out of sequence to spring their traps (to unring the sonnet). With these moored but mutated determinants the lines turn on a hinge (sometimes there’s just the hinge), projective only in the sense of being shot toward Shakespeare’s word already waiting there.” And they really are “shot,” moving so quickly, with so many turns, traps, and surprises, that Ron Silliman recently claimed, “The very first page…nearly took my head off.” Silliman joins a long list of critics floored by Shurin’s ability to maintain in verse the same level of compression, torque, and sheer speed he achieves in prose, what he calls “the action not the thing, a happening semblance that is not a story…a process of integration not linear but aggregate, circular, partial—and so, complete.”

Please hold on to your heads, and help me in welcoming Aaron Shurin.

28 September 2010

Myung Mi Kim Weekend

Myung Mi Kim swept through the Bay Area this weekend, leaving gaping maws and blown minds in her wake. Saturday evening she performed a super focused reading that completely devastated the Meridian Gallery; starting with a swatch of new poems from a manuscript-in-process called Civil Bound, she moved through Dura, Commons, and Penury only to return to the poems with which she began, reheasrsing a single trajectory while tuning the room to her project in toto.

Sunday afternoon we reconvened at Nicole Hollis Studios for the Nonsite Collective conversation, a super, super interesting open discussion about Myung's project, set to a soundtrack of raunchy synths and the incessant pounding of bass thanks to the Folsom Street Fair.

Here're are some pics from the long weekend:
 

Myung drinking martinis and eating fries rather than enjoying a balanced meal.


The backs of heads at the Meridian Gallery





Elise Ficarra & Wilda















Erin Morrill & Erika Staiti


Myung smiling




The crowd listening attentively; Jocelyn Saidenberg hiding


Myung gesturing


David Brazil, Sara Larsen, Tanya Hollis, Chris Nagler


More Myung


Anne Lesley Selcer & Chris Nagler


SLRSN & Erin


Steve Dickison & Aaron Shurin


Hugo Garcia Manriquez

Wendy Kramer & Tanya Hollis





24 September 2010

Notebook Fridays: Myung Mi Kim

In anticipation of Myung Mi Kim's visit this weekend, I'm doubling up on Notebook Fridays (see Alli Warren's final contribution below). The following poems from Myung's work-in-progress Civil Bound were recently printed in Hambone, but they count as notebook poems because they are still literally in-manuscript, probably being revised as I post this! Don't forget to join us tomorrow (Saturday, 9/25) for Myung's reading for the Poetry Center (Meridian Gallery, 535 Powell St., 7:30 PM) and Sunday (9/26) for a conversation around her work for Nonsite (Nicole Hollis Studios, 935 Natoma, 2:00 PM). The picture above was taken at my dissertation-defense-celebration-dinner back in February, where Myung convinced a waiter who was once a student of Robert Duncan (!) to make me a special vegetarian meal at a steak house! That's how persuasive she can be...!

Here are a few pages from Civil Bound:

">

Notebook Poems: Alli Warren IV


















Here's a final poem from Alli's run at Notebook Fridays. Let me apologize in advance to Alli and Sara Larsen for posting the picture above! I couldn't resist...

THIS WILL BE THE MATERIAL OF MY SONG

another day at the sieve
administering the field

& all its relations
bound in custom

to enterprise and acquire
to load into carts

everyone wants to hang glide
in colonial paradise,

no? To stand on the brink
and make a market

of every vital nuclei?
As much in understanding

as execution
of the lops, tops and rootage

of the dragging and gathering
With whom it is permissible

with whom it is forbidden
to rub the larynx and articulators

with my habit and my uzi
and the Bishop of Worms

as an example
to the population

23 September 2010

Beverly Dahlen on Oppen

Beverly Dahlen sent me the following notes on Oppen's Daybooks, and I asked if I could share them here. Here's Beverly:

"And because if the universe is matter, it is impenetrable." Oppen, in the Daybooks. Where does it begin? And he comes back to it, again and again. If the universe is matter, it is impenetrable.

I puzzzle over this thought, this recurring thought. What would the universe be, if it were not matter? If it is matter, why impenetrable? I would have thought matter, especially in our time, has been shown to be the opposite: not only penetrable, permeable, but even fragile, nearly illusory. Not, at least, the dense solid stuff we associate with the word “matter.” Not that. Today being the 63rd anniversary of the bombing of Hiroshima. Which proved, aside from whatever else it did, that matter and energy are the same thing. If the universe is matter, then it is energy. Blake at least intuited that truth something like 150 years before Einstein worked it out.

So what is Oppen getting at?

Much much later. Days later now, these random notes. Oppen’s notes really random, not much context. These are questions about metaphysics, not physics. About philosophy and the troubling about the “moral” qualities of “matter.” Whether there is inherently any morality in the universe. Or not. Whether perhaps there is god or gods or powers, intelligent forces, moral forces. One is inclined to say no. I shouldn’t think so. I barely understand physics. When we use words like “matter” and “energy” what is meant, really. What can be meant is something quite different for a trained physicist from someone like me. These are forces, “energy” and “gravity” and so on, which are as mysterious to me as they were to neolithic minds.

To worship seems somehow contradictory. Whatever form it takes, whatever ritual, it seems contradictory to the “facts” as we vaguely know them now. that the universe is indeed amoral, that morality is projected onto a being or beings somehow inherent in that universe, and that those beings are not only intelligent but have a sense of morality. It is the power, the powers we wish to placate or possess or somehow comprehend: that is the base.

Nothing I have written here is new. I think of George Stanley’s repetition of the words “stuck stuck stuck” in the new book

the new book = Vancouver: A Poem
surely not Vancouver the city of
he denies it, though he “lives” there, and has for years now
riding on buses, or walking one writes

August 10, 2008

22 September 2010

Albon on Labor Day














Another Labor Day favorite was George Albon's piece, read by Alli Warren as George was fittingly stuck at Green Apple. These reflections are derived from Albon's current prose-work-in-process "The Slopus," which is quickly becoming my favorite contemporary project on poetics as lived, labored experience. The following roughly represents the section Alli read from (at least as I remember it). Here's Albon:

In 1961, Robert Duncan was asked to contribute an essay to Journal for the Protection of All Beings, a journal whose name was originally going to be The Protective Association for All Beings. Aiming his essay at the original title, Duncan challenged its assumptions. Privation and adversity, he suggested, weren’t to be avoided at all costs; they may even be engines of creation. Using a Manichean language to comment on the socially well-meaning presumption he heard in the language of the request, he wrote, “I strive to realize the Good, not against the Evil, but in order that there be Good in the Gift as well as Evil.” The journal’s editors were doubtless thinking of protection as leftist concern over the wars of the moment, ideological wars as well as actually deployed ones, and their new atomic face. Going to the root, Duncan saw “protective” as paternalistic at best and state-managerial at worst. What would a “protective association” be if not coercive? Duncan’s devotion to “the orders of a household” may have given him a measure of psychic stability that other poets lacked, but his poverty was as real as anyone else’s. “This writer has no steady resource,” the essay began. “He is as likely to run thin as to leap his channel; he must run his course where he may.” For Duncan, economic insecurity was a hardship that contained aspects of freedom; it pointed toward the opening of the field as much as anything else. Security, on the other hand, was chloroform—it disabled the active imagination from encountering those glimmers in a precious and uncertain life that are its most acute testament. “Wasn’t vulnerability,” he asked, “the very quick of the light?”

Along with checks from home, and with no dependents, Duncan got by as a typist. There were other people, and other ways, to consider the problem. Talking with David Meltzer in 1969, Kenneth Rexroth (an early avatar, like Jack Spicer in his own way, of Pacific Nation) told his young interviewer: “People on the West Coast work.” “People” meant male poets. Poets in the West can make physical labor play their way. Rexroth offered a counter-example in Hart Crane, who “spent all his time fretting about his economic problems, but if he had been a Westerner, he would have gone out and gotten a job in the woods or at sea or something like that, and he would have made a lot of bread. A hell of a lot more bread than he ever did writing advertising copy for candy.” When Rexroth talked about work out West, he was emphasizing outdoor jobs as opposed to white-collar office jobs, but there’s a factor here which is not spoken. The work in the West was seasonal work. Harvesting, summer lookout posts, Merchant Marine tours, non-union dock gigs during high periods—these were ideal for poets who were physically able to do it, because they could make “a lot of bread” and then have stretches of time off for poetry.

As it happened, Rexroth was talking about a seat-of-the-pants personal economy that had worked for canny individuals in the recent past and which gave the promise of crossing over to a present moment of the collective and the tribe. No doubt the Rexroth model worked for some, and was impossible for others. “Seasonal” work is also one season in a life—how long it is sustained will be up to individuals and circumstances. In 1964, five years before Rexroth told his interviewer that “people on the West Coast work,” a symposium was held at the Old Longshoreman’s Hall in San Francisco, on the subject of “bread and poetry.” Advertised (and maybe organized?) by Lew Welch, the symposium featured Philip Whalen, Gary Snyder, and himself. The question that night was how to live as a poet. The three poets, who shared much common ground in their poetics, revealed three different temperaments that evening. Snyder, with some trade-in skills under his cap, had the most equanimity. Besides working in forestry and park services, he was also among the first wave of Americans to earn money by teaching “business English” overseas. The Rexroth model par excellence, his self-sufficiency in this context was enviable. Forward-looking, “progressive” in its view of limits, it had one foot in the archaic small society and the other in the federally funded conservation job corps developed in the 20s and 30s. Writing poetry that was often about the process of staying self-sufficient, his approach had some calm in it: “Whatever work I’ve done, whatever job I’ve had, has fed right into my poetry, and it’s all in there.” Whalen, with a physique less suited for physical labor and a poetry requiring endless dredgings of the unseen, has a harder go of things, but “I don’t mind a part-time job ordinarily.” At the time, however, he no longer had his half-day gig washing laboratory glassware at UC, “and it’s a great burden on my nerves. Right now I’m sort of getting by on my pretty face.” A classic Whalen attitude: humor as resilience, giving the Neapolitan razz to hardship.

The most poignant is Welch. The one with the greatest variety of job work under his belt, he’s also the most unstable. Cab-driver, salmon and crab fisherman, post office worker, even a stint in advertising (where, as legend has it, he came up with “Raid Kills Bugs Dead”), his back is to the wall. He’s getting by on “any kind of left-handed job that’s left over, that nobody seems to want.” He was just back in town after a breakdown and an extended stay in a CCC shack near California’s northern border. (CCC shack…Old Longshoreman’s Hall…were the mid-60s the last period when totems of labor history like these still had a living ambience?)

Welch’s quandary—his sense of choices—may be conditioned by alcoholism. But he has a strong pull toward the Poet as Being, rather than just part of being. “While I was growing up my job always seemed to me to be to get myself into the kind of person that would have something interesting and accurate to say about things. And in order to develop into that kind of person, I always found it exciting and interesting to change jobs a lot, to do a lot of different things, and I always like working with my hands—just labor jobs.” Now, at 37, the scene is different. (None of these poets are young. Snyder, the youngest, is 34, and Whalen is 40. And at the time of his essay, Robert Duncan was 42.) Welch’s horizons are shifting, though he would also embrace the tribal consciousness blooming in the Bay Area, and its realignments, in which the Poet was a benefice to the community and thus accorded a living. This was the era when some poets wanted to put “poet” under “occupation” on forms. (I wanted to, too, if I’d been old enough to fill any out.) It’s hard to imagine poets doing this in the present—either it was a silly idea all along, or poets now have a more horizontal view of what they do and don’t choose to privilege the “poet” part. (Or they’ve internalized the skepticism of the clerks.)

These three poets are optimistic, each in his way. Snyder, cohesive and integrated, simply says, “I’ve had no problem at all.” Whalen acknowledges a split between crummy jobs of the past and his vocation “that I had a hard time sewing up but I’ve gradually, I think, fixed it up. It’s all evening out slowly.” Welch wants to forget the bad jobs and embrace the new tribes. “First I have to solve my problem. Without in any way causing a strain on my community, without begging or conning anyone in any way, I will pay my bills entirely by doing my real job, which is Poet.”

These optimisms were healthy personal convictions, part of the bodily optimism of any moment, but in the ambience I can feel the vibration of a particular few decades, a grace period floating inside the mythic boundlessness of the American Sublime.

The post-WW2 economic boon was a gift to white Americans and held at least a flicker of promise for minorities. It lasted a little over thirty years—a pretty good run. It lasted long enough, in fact, to imprint the hope of a less insecure future on a generation of adults already grown, and their children. From the perspective of the early 21st century, those thirty years have started to look like an oasis in American history, one that started with New Deal recovery programs and the war effort, was maintained for a few decades with war-economy “full production” schedules—the decades whose vibrations I felt above—and began to dry up with the Ford recession. By 1973, the first year of that almost three-year recession, the dollar had ceased to have purchasing power. The dream that technology was going to provide leisure time, or vocational time, now seemed a sour hallucination.

After the dismal Carter economy and Reagan’s quadrupling of the national debt, things appeared to get better in the 90s with the consolidation of information technologies. These were quick-money times for many people. But the period’s momentum did what momentums do—it inhibited peripheral vision, a vision that might have offered a view of the everyday consequences to come. At the time, it was an intense bout of production, consumption, and service that was bound, after enormous activity, to plateau out (or at least to have a softer gradient). Labor unions still had “power,” of a sort, but they were stuck in the older paradigms, of leverage created by large enough aggregate numbers of workers, or workers representing population-percentages in fixed territories. The new lateralized marketplace was turning unions like these into dinosaurs. The information economy’s needs didn’t depend on leverage: they called for “specialized” skills that whole demographics seemed to have, with hundreds of thousands of jobs that needed filling but didn’t need to be wage-competitive. Credentials didn’t exactly drop out of the equation, but were increasingly augmented by willingness. It was a non-cultural proletarianization of the bourgeoise—the last time I remember people with these kinds of work weeks was in my coal-mining hometown over thirty years ago. At the same time, the prevailing political climate was shedding its liberal watchdog character. Over a decade of Thatcher-Reagan had seen it morph into a complacent observer of open-maw private interests, which satisfied and then extended their agendas with no significant challenge from either press or congress. Only in such a climate could Bill Clinton, a brilliant, charming, and ideologically will-of-the-wisp executive, sign into law a jaw-dropping “take-away” welfare bill that wouldn’t have gotten near the desk of Richard Nixon.

And at this point, I want to introduce a poet. Or maybe he’s a characterization—or maybe a symptom, or a product. He didn’t exist in the West before a certain era, but since then he’s existed in various configurations up to and including the present. This is the seismographic poet, in whose every moment a registration may be forming. He requires what many would consider an inordinate amount of time to claim his experience, to discriminate it, and to have it stand in relief. The first full-blown versions were part of the Enlightenment’s wake, decades after its crest. The Enlightenment’s “everyday task of thinking” eventually

The “problem” with the seismograph is that it records crucial findings and is left to accumulate the pulses and strains that will result in the next finding. Which is to say: it inheres in time. It works through time. Here there’s a fairly benign claim to make: that many poets ask for a certain kind of time, not necessarily more, than other art-makers. A novelist needs an enormous amount of time to write a novel, including time for planning what she’s going to write, but we don’t think of her as having to spend a lot of time away from the keyboard “being a novelist.” Since the Romantic era, poets have claimed “time-away” time, a working time that is not actual writing. This kind of poetry work—reading, doing, letting happen, and accounting for your activity in a firmly applied synthesis—builds the pressure that will be brought to writing. Ideally, it leads to a mild form of crisis, a fork in the road. To write is to have chosen. (In past practice, the pressure resulted in a distilled work; in the present, something more like an accumulated one.)

The twentieth century behavioralized the seismographic temperament: inappropriately intense, lacking social stamina, with an introspection that was its own form of rigidity. I particularly think of early-modern women poets—Millay-Teasdale-Wylie—as well as one modernist poet—H. D.—who were tagged with some of these traits. Romanticism plus Freud: a killer combination, or at least a volatile mix. You can also class this poet: a parasitic prole (“Go and find work,” the Chairman told Tom), or conversely, a class-unconscious solipsist in a sea of privilege, asking for extra favors.

21 September 2010

LABOR DAY




I still haven't had the opportunity to fully digest the rich discussions during and after the labor day conference a few weekends back, which is probably self-evident from my super late response to the event! I allowed myself the great luxury of putting the notebook away in order to let the responses wash over me like a much-needed salve. At one point Kevin Killian mentioned that he felt like he agreed with everything everyone was saying, but also felt that this fact must be incompatible somehow, and I generally agreed with him and then wondered too how this could be true!

One conversation that seemed sorely lacking, however, was a dialogue around poetry itself as labor, a reality that fully informs my personal aesthetic. Most presenters seemed to present poetry as a respite from work, a luxury of some sort, but as a poet who often reworks a single line for days and days on end, I was desperate to hear other folks discuss language itself as labor!

That said, I was moved by Chris Daniels' impromptu discussion of his personal relationship to Marxist politics, awed by Cedar Sigo's careful catalog of skin care techniques, and was generally left wanting more from everyone in the room (including those who didn't formally present).     

The most deeply conceptual piece of the evening was delivered by David Brazil (surprise, surprise!), and he read it so quickly and with so much force that I could barely keep up. I present a scan of the document here (along with David's notes) for those who might want to dig in with more time on their hands. Thanks to Brandon Brown, Alli Warren, David Brazil, Sara Larsen, and Suzanne Stein for making it happen...

">

20 September 2010

Myung Mi Kim: This Saturday & Sunday






















We are honored to welcome Myung Mi Kim back to the Bay Area this coming weekend (Sat., Sept. 25 & Sun., Sept. 26). She'll read with Ken Edwards for the Poetry Center on Saturday night (Meridian Gallery, 535 Powell Street, 7:30 pm), and will join the Nonsite Collective Sunday afternoon at Nicole Hollis Studios (935 Natoma Street, 2pm) for a conversation about her work (Click on the poster above for additional information). If you've never had the pleasure of joining Myung in conversation about the practice of poetry, DO NOT MISS this rare opportunity!

Myung's brilliant new project Penury is available thanks to the efforts of Omnidawn, and her classic text Dura was recently reissued by Nightboat, both books to spend some time with in anticipation of her visit. You can also read a brilliant interview with Myung conducted by Yedda Morrison here. Finally, if you have some additional  time, you might take a look at a book I edited with Andrew Rippeon on Myung's work. The full text of Building is a Process: Light is an Element is available here, and includes brilliant contributions from the likes of Norma Cole, Dana Teen Lomax, Susan Gevirtz, Elise Ficarra, and Kathy Lou Shultz among many others.

The following is my contribution on Dura. Hope to see you at both events Saturday and Sunday!

">

17 September 2010

Notebook Fridays: Warren Pt. III















OUR TENDER URBAN CORE


with lust for the growing lust

I sit down as you

stand up in a gesture named “giving up”

what do they mean “the coastal areas”?

everything we want

and do not know how to need

& so I was the one who torched the crib

sullied your copy of The Republic

feeling kind of Eyjafjallajokul-in-a-trance

lunching an extra 15 minutes

really bold with it

Paul, love turns to mechanical currency

& all those feeeeelings

a showcase of empty meaning

take it outside & beat it with a stick

strike our tender urban sore

Before there was YouTube...

There was "Metallica Drummer"! I remember this video being passed around on VHS TAPE (!) back in the day, and while it is very, very funny most viewers are mesmerized by dude's raw talent. And he's Canadian...


Best Metallica Air Drums Ever!UCBcomedy.com
Watch more comedy videos from the twisted minds of the UCB Theatre at UCBcomedy.com

16 September 2010

Genocide in the Neighborhood Part IV

Read Part I here, Part II here, and Part III here...

Cross: I had a hard time with this element of the book (see Part III), as I was sort of attracted and repulsed simultaneously. First, there's the problem of social condemnation and its sort of fuzzy telos. The Westboro Baptist Church was the first object lesson that came to mind so it might not hold as a foil, and I admittedly don't know much about what they hope to achieve through their outrageous protests; that said, they do enact a similarly performative/perhaps-even-sometimes-aesthetic spectacle that "produces" (or hopes to produce) public condemnation/shame for not-so-obvious reasons (do they really hope to "convert" homosexuals to the "straight and narrow" or are they, like HIJOS, using the performance to mark and ostracize "offenders" amongst their peers?). Probably a better example is a bunch of neighbors gaining critical mass and walking down the street to confront a registered sex offender (and there might also be an aesthetic element to how this plays out, maybe through the becoming-mob of the body politic?, but perhaps I'm stretching here!). The question for me is what does this "produce"?

For HIJOS, the answer is "justice." It produces or makes justice. At first I was surprised that Colectivo Situaciones didn't really unpack this concept given their emphasis on "militant" research (it's not so militant to let this slip!). Then I was just sort of incredulous: so this is justice? Shame is justice? As the victim of a Catholic upbringing, I don't think I'll ever be able to make this leap in good faith. And the whole time, of course, I'm catching myself and trying to temper my insistence on operativity, too. I mean, prison (as such) or the death penalty (as the extreme object of the punitive) can't produce justice simply because something happens, right? Because somebody acted? For me, the notion of justice is so deeply imbricated with the notion of revenge that it's hard to unhook the two. On this level, the escrache would be a disaster. Even if the demonstrators/performers/organizers could somehow develop a rubric by which to mete out the right measure of justice, I think most participants understand that the telos of the escrache will never balance the injustice of state-sponsored genocide.

What then? I've recently started to think about it in terms of performing-justice: that a term like justice can only be understood through the convictions of participants and the actions that speak for those convictions (thus the crucial insistence on the aesthetic), and as such a term like justice needs to be reevaluated in its context each and every time it's used. This would explain, of course, why the term skirts definition: if it can only be understood in context, what we call "justice" absolutely depends on praxis. The rub then would be something like this: for HIJOS, making justice means not forgetting, and any act with fidelity to the event is a kind of justice (this is starting to sound like Badiou!). Do you think I'm on the right track here?

Whitener: Let me pick up and try to respond to three points you bring up.

First, about the production of justice. I would say that I agree with you. First, the term is fuzzy as it is used in the book. But as you point out that's because they aren't sure where they are going. I think the best and clearest definition of what this other justice could be is given in the term social condemnation: the idea of turning the neighborhood into the prison.

Second, I'm reading your references to the escrache and the Westboro Church or other types of practices that flirt with either violence or practices that could somehow "go wrong," as raising the issue of ethics in the context of non-liberal political practices, ie practices that go in for something other than representative democracy. I don't want to dwell to much on the specifics of any one example (like you say you're not sure how far you would support these analogies). I think what your question is getting at is how do we distinguish between "good" and "bad" practices on the right and left? Can we? Is the left always "good" and the right always "bad"? This is certainly both an open, hotly debated, and very important question of the current moment.

With the escraches, my very tentative approach is to think we can make a case for the relative merits of left vs right practices and I would attempt to answer it like this: How for example can we say, definitively, that Glenn Beck's event at the Washington Memorial wasn't, as he portrayed it, an important continuation of the civil rights struggle? I think the way to do it is to realize that the elision of difference between Beck and MLK (on Beck's part) or between Westboro or any other practice and the escrache relies on a formalism, or saying that the "form" of the actions are somehow the same, thus they are "similar," equivalent, etc. [This formalism can also be seen in a manner of thinking that is very prevalent nowadays that involves, usually in an ethical register, arguing that certain practices, usually ones that move outside of the framework of liberal democratic politics, are on a slippery slope to fascism, totalitarianism, etc.] However, the result of this formalism, or comparing and contrasting two practices only via their form (shaming, civil rights, etc) is that the context and content of the practices are totally evacuated from consideration. Context and content (and not form) is how we would distinguish Beck from MLK: Beck is not fighting the racial oppression of a minority group (content) and his event is taking place not within a civil rights movement against racial oppression but rather within a war on terror that is based on a global ascendancy of whiteness (context).

The escraches take place in the context of the murder by a state of a generation of political opponents, crimes that are unresolved. The content is a practice that is directed at repairing the social damages of the historical event of the dictatorship. The escrache, I would argue, is not about shame, it's about the re-creation of the social fabric destroyed by the dictatorship, about bringing people together to think about this historical moment, and consider its effects on Argentinean society, and act, respond, do something about it. It's about invention and creation, its about response to injustice and not about the maintenance of a state of injustice.

We might say that in order to distinguish left from right practices our call should be: always situationize! [if we understand a situation as a fusion between context and content or between structure and history or experience] The practices have to be read within a situation, a genealogy, a convergence of context and content, and not be read for formal similarities only which results in just a sterile structuralism. This might be one provisional way of distinguishing right from left practices. Obviously, we're only just touching on the question of violence and on the difficulty of trying to think about ethics during a "war on terror" that has managed, in many instances, to criminalize many types of dissent, thought and action.

Third, I really want to talk more about yr idea of performative justice and fidelity and "the notion of justice is so deeply imbricated with the notion of revenge that it's hard to unhook the two." In your previous email you wrote:

"The rub then would be something like this: for HIJOS, making justice means not forgetting, and any act with fidelity to the event is a kind of justice (this is starting to sound like Badiou!). Do you think I'm on the right track here?"

Well, I think the short answer is yes! However, I would just switch out "fidelity" and "not forgetting" for "production." I think the escrache produces; historical memory is definitely involved but I think the escrache mobilizes this affective reservoir, puts it to work we might say. Another experience that's interesting to think in relation to the escrache is the community justice movement in Guerrero, Mexico. There's a fairly good summary (in English) of the practice here:

http://libcom.org/library/popular-justice-community-policing-guerrero-mexico-26032009

What I think is interesting about this practice and the escrache is that they are trying to split the Gordian knot between justice and revenge that you noted. And I think that's the knot that we have to try to untie if we're going to push these conversations around new conceptions of justice further.

15 September 2010

Further Reflections on Mark Linenthal's life (plus excerpts from his brilliant Oppen Lecture)

This from Beverly Dahlen:
During Mark's final years of illness, I visited him, often with Rob Halpern. The last time we saw him, he had been thinking of Oppen's "The little hole in the eye/ Williams called it, the little hole..." and so on. Mark was disturbed by the "violence" in the poem, asked why are they violent.

Truly, there is no good answer to that question. It is a statement of fact so simple and profound that could we answer, for the world, we would know how to live.

At the funeral, I read Rob's introduction to the (now) last reading. And I have been playing Lester Young recordings in Mark's memory since then.

This from George Stanley:
Yes, i did know Mark, not very well, but we were always friendly, and i valued his, it seemed, constant good nature and openness. When i think of him i think of the gatherings we used to have at his and Frances' house, somehow associated not just with poetry but with watching the Vietnam war on television, and so becoming politically aware. Mark took on that essential role of being the older brother to all of us, wise and friendly and reliable.

This from Steve Dickison:
Mark Linenthal's voice and presence runs throughout dozens of readings collected in the Poetry Center's American Poetry Archives, occasions which he organized and introduced. He read his own poetry for the Poetry Center numerous times, and on December 10, 1992, delivered the George Oppen Memorial Lecture. Again, on April 26, 2008, he revisited Oppen's work, opening the Poetry Center's Salute to George Oppen, for the poet's Centenary. He was a dedicated teacher, and his influence on his contemporaries and younger writers has been significant...

His colleague in the English Department at San Francisco State University, Peter Weltner, writes: "I want to say...how sad I was to learn this morning of Mark Linenthal's death. I remember him first from an early evening in November of '69 when he introduced George Oppen at a reading in the old A & I building. For nearly forty years, off and on, we talked. Once, at an intermission between two readers, I watched and listened as he talked to students who surrounded him. It was his intensity more than anything else that swept everyone up, the wide, strong eyes, the hands always gesturing, as he leaned forward, his voice alive with the love of poetry. At the moment, he was speaking about Oppen's "Psalm," how the deer are there: in this in which the wild deer startle and stare out. You could experience Oppen's astonishment in Mark himself, the poem incarnate again in him. I loved the man."

Peter Linenthal, Mark's son, is preparing a website of photographs and reminiscences by family and friends, to be launched soon at marklinenthal.com

And here are the opening remarks from Mark's Oppen Lecture, delivered on December 10th, 1992:
George Oppen was a friend of mine for the last seventeen years of his life and ours was a friendship I was proud of. I saw him as a great writer and an important thinker. For me he was the fundamental poet. His work pointed out for me the direction in which the poetry of our time, my own included, ought to proceed; and his beliefs about the poet’s role and the nature and value of poetry established themselves firmly in my mind where they continue to sit in judgment—often harsh judgment—on my own work and that of my contemporaries. I read him with the excitement and pleasure of discovery: the special pleasure of finding what, until I found it, I only dimly knew I wanted. I discussed poetry with him in earnest, listening closely to what he said, considering it in relation to his own practice and that of others, and remembering it. He was a major influence on my life, a valuable one, for which I am grateful.

Perhaps the wonderful advice he gave me when I had grown desperate trying to write a poem I found impossible to write, perhaps that will suggest at least a small part of my indebtedness. I was at work on a long sequence, addressed to a brother who had died, when I discovered that my chosen direction had disappeared in a swirl of contradictory impulses. I was scornful and sympathetic in turn, justifying my own survival while maintaining a directness which had not been possible while my brother was alive. I ran aground in the third section of the poem, able neither to proceed nor to work on something else, when I, with fear and trembling, showed the piece to George. He liked the first section. He liked parts of the second. What I had written of the third, he said was so bad it did not worry him. He found a passage in part two which he liked, and advised me to begin with that. He assured me that it did not matter what I said, that I should, as he insisted, do it by the cadence. And he directed me to my desk, and told me to “just be there.” I realized later that his assurance that what I said did not matter freed me from the net of arguments I had walked into. It gave me permission to consider what I had not known I needed to say. His remark “just be there” opened me to whatever might occur during the actual process of composition. George regularly associated meaning with space, with spaciousness. It was his advice which enlarged the world and delivered me to myself.

Over years of teaching, I have tried to make clear the nature and importance of Oppen’s achievement. What I say this evening is inevitably an extension of that effort; and some if it, I’m sure, for some of you, will be all too familiar. But the task now is more daunting than usual. I’ve been reading his letters, the superb collection edited by his friend, Rachel Blau DuPlessis, and I’ve read many of the published selections from Oppen’s working papers, which are housed at the University of California at San Diego. I am coming to see him as a grander, as a more audacious presence than I had imagined. I am finding a depth and an urgency surrounding, underlying, and permeating the poetry, which I always felt, but which now seems overwhelming. Urgency and depth. One suggesting the pressure of personal necessity, the other, a gravity, a more than personal weight or resonance.

I realize that when I try to set down my thoughts about Oppen’s work, I habitually employ some pair of terms which will indicate some unusual combination of qualities. Ten years ago, for example, I argued that whereas some poets—and Gerard Manley Hopkins was my example—initiate an act of attention, others—and I thought of Blake1—seem to conclude one, that is to conclude an act of attention. Oppen’s work seemed to me to combine a quick lightness of movement and an intensity of concentration. There was not only the liveliness and immediacy of beginnings, but there was the authority of achieved insight. Well, lightness, I thought, came from a constant shift of attention between the word and what it points to, from a process both skeptical and assertive, from the sense of search, of words in motion, words seeking their connections within and beyond the poem. The concentration, on the other hand, the concentration or intensity or weight, came from what I called an abstemiousness, a plain-speaking, a determination to say and say only what is so for him.

After his death eight years ago, I wrote that “although Oppen was a proud man, he had an important kind of humility.” The latter term, which I borrowed from Wallace Stevens, would probably have embarrassed Oppen, so insistent was he upon his chosen role and chosen method. The term, “humility,” appears in a Stevens essay called “On Poetic Truth.” Stevens welcomes what he calls “an authentic note in contemporary religious thought: the insistence on a reality that forces itself upon our consciousness and refuses to be managed and mastered. Both art and religion share in this rejection of denial,” says Stevens, “both art and religion mediating for us a reality not ourselves. The supreme virtue here,” he says, “is humility. For the humble are they that move about the world with the love of the real in their hearts.” Lightness and concentration, the two in combination. Or, pride and humility. And now, urgency and depth.

Donations to the Poetry Center can be made in Mark's name here.

14 September 2010

Haecceities at Cuneiform...

along with tantalizing sneak peeks at new books by "labelmates" Alan Loney & Kit Robinson here (along with a preview of the Poems & Picutres catalog cover!). Not bad company to keep, for sure...

Eigner Celebration!


Stephen Ratcliffe and I under the "Join Us" banner

 
People from behind (starring Bob Grenier and Kit Robinson on the far left)

Taylor Brady looking dapper as always

Proof that Jonathan Skinner was in fact in town...

Me looking a bit tipsy despite the lack of alcoholic beverages

Katja looking less tipsy and generally more pleasant

What a wonderful evening Saturday night at the Unitarian Church for the Eigner Collected launch, even if I regularly find it hard to hear in the chapel. I came equipped with my second third volume (my first third volume was really a second second volume (I received I, II, II, and IV in the mail all cosily shrinkwrapped together)) to get a third third volume with the missing page intact. It was great to hear Bob and Stephen and Kit Robinson, and then suddenly Skinner showed up standing next to me in the bathroom (!). Larry's brother Richard Eigner read a beautiful eulogy along with a few poems, and Eigner's autobiographical material was suddenly available here upon returning home, which made my night!

And right before leaving for the event I finally digested Andrew Rippeon's stunning dissertation chapter on Eigner which I tried to talk about with anyone who would listen (hope to post excerpts here if Andrew's up for it).

And if you haven't seen it yet, here's Bob Grenier's essential "For Larry Eigner."

Thanks to Steve Dickison and the Poetry Center for hosting!

13 September 2010

Alli Warren: Notebook Poem the Second


BUMMER AND LAZARUS


I read the books
of discoveries
of men

they mark the burning
with a flag

their ratting talent
and unique bond
I look up
to find the whole
Quarterly aglow

What happened
to the relational empire
of the never-ending gaze?

I name all the owners
of this district
say how much
each of them has

to love more
I breathe wanting
the interlocked grills

to open me
splinter our clothed
& unpenetrated bodies

The death of Lazarus
precedes the death of Bummer

Scalapino at Delirious Hem

I keep meaning to direct your attention to the Scalapino tribute at Delirious Hem, but rather than write about it here I head over there and get lost in the plethora of rich material. There are so many highlights I won't even begin to list the contributions I'm excited about. Essential reading, for sure.

My own contribution is the first section of an interview Leslie and I worked on over a number of years. It was recently published in Aufgabe and is reprinted here. There's plenty more where this came from so keep your eyes peeled...

10 September 2010

Haecceities Has Arrived!


I am very excited to report that Haecceities is finally in the world thanks to our friends at Cuneiform Press! I began these poems way back in 2003 shortly after leaving the Bay Area for Buffalo, so this book represents seven long years of very slow writing!

I was honored to earn a blurb from Leslie Scalapino, who writes of the book:

"In Haecceities, Michael Cross has made an interim language, his invention a relation between the words—as if this unknown relation or 'noumenon' is 'a hide enthinned' of futuristic Elizabethan single words each at once tactile, optical, aural simultaneously traces and events of reinterpreted future-present spurred in 'the many hundred wing-lit hives."

And here's a pretty amazing short video of CA Conrad and Brenda Iijima performing a ritual upon receiving the book:



It's available now (though I don't think it's officially listed as available) at SPD here. You can also get copies from me directly, especially if you're interested in writing a review (and I always throw in bonus material!). I would be honored if you chose to read it this fall (and I would be doubly honored if you chose to review it or teach it or recommend it to a friend or library!).

Here are some poems from the sequence "Pax" to whet your appetite:

decas a hand in matte-batting bound in the mouth
worth numerically five, say throat, palate, tongue, worth teeth
not so a lictor rides whips from the skin folds in similar case
swathed hands haven't mass, haven't maw-meats
should mouth exclude sate from the forearm in teeth
pigs fixed by mouth, ham of hand, fingers of foot

*

cleave as stone drawn straw
oppugn gable ends, ends poist, laid upon a finger
slough off directional stress
shew light, allemande, courante,
light sarabande, gigue, light
light chaconne, transom, kodachrome
the life of my life bound in a bale of life

*

dreamt of his blood in the mouth of his brother
like gum-props one jaw for the sky, slavering gape
the lower bone scrapes off ground, salivates
slaughter-gaut, yawned with the arm's mouth
two-youth's white with milk-cured wool
so that laughing there will seem too few when the wolf comes
browstress the wide island meadow
bound by the entrails of son

09 September 2010

Notebook Fridays (A Day Early in Four Parts)


This week's Notebook Friday starts on Thursday and appears in four movements (wrap your mind around that!). More to follow next week...

It's my honor to present new poems by the inestimable, incomparable Alli Warren. And needless to say, they're really, really good...

Part the First:

A NEWSWORTHY THING

that we would have been visible from the air
that we would have acted
     as such
that we would return
having been forced
to have been grazing
that we were springs
and by some spell spurring
banks & batons
     blockading
what we could have been growing
that we would have been greeting
     and pillars
and by some spell spurring
soft-bodied welling
that we could equate
with what we confiscate
had we been
great channels flowing
visible from the air
     and running tides
& concrete lapping & steel girders
that we have been buried
in the teeth of the soft-bodied
welling we had been lapping
the salt of fracturing
that we would be wrenching
     and never rest
and carry and turning
and teeth again and brooks
     that blood
reeking at the port entry

Thom Donovan's blogging at Art:21

































And this one's on Arnold Kemp! Check it out here.

08 September 2010

Nonsite Collective: An Evening with artists Melissa Dyne and Amanda Eicher























This Friday, September 10th, we'll meet at Nicole Hollis studios (935 Natoma) at 7:30 PM  for a discussion with artists Melissa Dyne and Amanda Eicher. Both artists will discuss their current work in terms of "tuning" or "mapping" community. We hope to investigate together how social art practice co/responds to the sometimes imagined community(ies) in which it is based. Please join us for what promises to be a super interesting conversation. Click the poster above to print or read full-screen.

07 September 2010

Mark Linenthal

I was very sorry to learn of the passing of Mark Linenthal, who, among many other things, was an extremely influential mentor to many Bay Area poets during his tenure at San Francisco State University. Mark was an accomplished poet and teacher who also happened to run the Poetry Center for many years (I copped the picture on the left from Laura's A Tonalist blog; Mark's front row center at a talk by Leslie Scalapino). I first learned of his fierce presence and extremely attentive reading practice through his lecture on George Oppen, which opens the volume of Oppen Lectures I've been editing for the past couple of years. Linenthal was married to the great Bay Area poet Frances Jaffer, who is remembered by SFSU's Frances Jaffer Poetry Prize (star recipients include folks like Cynthia Sailers and John Sakkis) and Kelsey Street Press's Frances Jaffer Book Award (which made possible first books by Carol Mirakove, Jocelyn Saidenberg, and Elena Rivera). Frances is perhaps best remembered, however, as one of the founding members of HOW(EVER).

I hope to print selections from Mark's Oppen Lecture later in the week, but I'll start this tribute with the full text from Rob Halpern's introduction to Linenthal's reading at the Last Laugh Cafe on January 12, 2008, which beautifully captures Mark's personality. Here's Rob:

Over the years, Mark Linenthal has cultivated a number of identities, all of which find elaboration in his writing: poet, teacher, activist, jazz musician, hunter, WWII navigator, and prisoner of war, among others.

Mark taught English at San Francisco State University from 1954-1992: during which time he married Frances Jaffer, who went on to become a remarkable poet in her own right. During that time, Mark directed the Poetry Center (1966-1972). He was also instrumental in organizing the Green Party of California. Mark is a saxophone player, and while he stopped playing in his combo a year or two ago, he continues to find in jazz a set of living metaphors and models for poetry and its sociality. He’s also passionate about hunting, as well as fly fishing, and while it’s hard for me to share the enthusiasm, Mark has written persuasively about hunting as an ecological and ethical practice within a Green political vision. (He was one of the early organizers for the Green party when it first emerged in San Francisco.) From this practice, Mark derives an equally compelling set of figures for being “in the field” of poetic composition.

From the serial poem, “Hunting” (The Man I am Watching), for example, Mark writes:

In this overgrown field words
falter as they rise

under it
all a steady breathing

And then there’s “Spring Melt,” a poem about both fishing and poetry (from Growing Light):

All winter waters
gushed under the ice

The fish slept
they grew thin

Now as spring comes on
we keep turning away

to those rich rivers
like language

to enter the rivers
to dance fine lies

through the foam
to drift over real fish

They are there
terse serious in the riffles

They flicker naked
at their ease

in the green pools

Mark’s poetry is an eco-poetry of encounter, one that locates itself consequentially in the space between “fine lies”— or the lures of language — and “real fish,” without drawing too much attention to itself.

In a more recent poem called “Out Here,” Mark maps the topology of his poetics like this:

Where words rule
things keep their dry distance
and may not meet without shame or struggle

Out here anything
can happen you hear them
old cypresses

Like the space between “real fish” and the “fine lies” that occasionally catch them, the space between “out here” and “where words rule” opens on a scene of wonder and surprise, where in a moment “anything can happen,” just as the world can come suddenly into stark focus, and a word make tenuous contact with it. Like his good friend George Oppen, Mark courts such moments of contact, always ready to be astonished, and this often yields moments of acute awareness that the world is really here, and that one is in and of it.

Mark delivered the Oppen Memorial Lecture in 1992. It was a great talk that considered Oppen’s “abstemiousness”—as opposed to “abstinence”—his humility and pride, his insistence on an imposing reality, as well as the importance of Oppen’s reading of Heidegger. It was a deeply personal talk—as well as interpretive—on the work of someone who was for Mark “a fundamental poet.” It’s hard for me to situate Mark Linenthal’s poetry without referring directly to Oppen, especially insofar as it is to Oppen’s poetry that my memories of Mark’s friendship and conversation consistently return. And he continues to cite Oppen with remarkable freshness on “the heartlessness of words”—how they always say too little or too much—and how “it’s possible to use words provided one treat them as enemies,” as if these ideas had only just yesterday made their consequential impact on him. “The thing only seems to exist because the word does,” Mark might quote Oppen as saying, insisting on the way language seduces belief that something is there, when in fact there may well be nothing.

But Mark is not an abstemious poet; his writing doesn’t reduce to bare materials. In the space between nothing and something—again, between the fine lies and the real fish—his poems open and expand. Following Stevens—that other “fundamental poet” for Mark—his poems are much less resistant to an affirmation of one’s being simultaneously in the world and in language, despite all the skepticism words inspire. Mark has often averred that Oppen’s and Stevens’s ontological concerns were more or less of the same Heideggerian kind: how do we know there is something rather than nothing? But whereas the space between something and nothing inspired in Oppen a kind of metaphysical vertigo (with real social implications), like Stevens, Mark can suspend his anxiety in that space, observing the “isolation of the sky,” and affirm that “deer walk upon our mountains, and the quail / Whistle about us their spontaneous cries” (from Stevens’s “Sunday Morning”, another poem Mark loves to recite).

Actually, in the space between something and nothing, Mark would probably rather hang-out and tell tasteless jokes, or laugh at limericks. His sense of humor underscores a key difference between his poetic sensibility and that of George Oppen. It’s a difference Mark often refers to while juxtaposing himself to his friend. Mark might point to Oppen’s ontological insecurity, an insecurity that arguably necessitated Oppen’s writing insofar as the poetry was needed to testify to the world’s material being, or “this-ness”. By contrast, Mark will confess to his own grounded stability: “I’m not like George,” he’ll say, “I’m too ontologically secure to write poetry.” And yet, Mark’s two books of poems, Growing Light (Black Thumb Press, 1979, whose title refers to the phenomenon of literally “growing light” when fly fishing, that is, approaching a river depth where the body is lifted and carried by the current) and The Man I am Watching (e.g. Books, 1987), belie the comforts of any such security.

At a time when the idea of experience has come under siege, Mark’s poems score, with uncompromised lucidity, the movement of their own attention making contact with a world where experience is still possible. In this sense, the poems are instructive: they prepare, in language, the presencing of an “experience” that remains outside language. For Mark, small acts of attention become consequential for locating one’s place in a world where “place” goes on eroding. Rather than giving into the force of that erosion and the rule of words, the poems bear witness to the fragility of location where a concern with “what can be said” becomes the most serious of all concerns. “What can be said”—as both direct question and relative statement—conditions the poems’ formal possibility while delimiting their content. It’s in their faithfulness to “what can be said” that Mark’s poems enact the values of clarity and precision, against injudicious obscurity and vague impressionism. But to measure one’s sense of measure—honestly and accurately—by “what can be said” requires a certain lightness of touch, and like Lester Young, after whom he wrote a great poem called “Listening to Lester,” we can hear Mark in his poems, “learning to play so lightly / he could believe it.”

Listening to Lester

I give myself such good
advice

I think of how in the yard branches
rest on air

how Bix and Tram were
telling some stories that I like to hear and
Lester carried that record around —

it was Singing the Blues
learning to play so lightly
he could believe it

how we are so frequently not so
right

how we are not wrong

that hunger heals

[End Halpern introduction]

And click here for a more recent video of Mark discussing comedy:

03 September 2010

LABOR DAY

Agenda for Sunday, September 5, 1:00-7:00 p.m.
Studio One Art Center, 365 45th Street, Oakland

1:00 - 3:30 p.m.
[Welcome]

Group I
Pam Lu (text read by Erika Staiti)
Steve Farmer
Jason Morris
Lauren Levin
Brandon Brown

[15 minute break]

Group II
Rodrigo Toscano (text read by Suzanne Stein)
Cedar Sigo
Chris Daniels (deputized by Pam Lu)
Dana Teen Lomax

[Open Discussion]

3:30 – 4:30 p.m.
[break]

4:30 - 7:00 p.m.
Group III
Laura Moriarty
David Brazil
Andrew Joron
Vanessa Place

[15 minute break]

Group IV
Sara Larsen
George Albon (deputized by Stacy Szymaszek, text read by Alli Warren)
Samantha Giles (deputized by CA Conrad)
Kevin Killian

[Open Discussion]

[In an effort to include as many people as possible in this gathering, we are happy to announce that we will be posting audio files of the presentations here on the blog shortly after each one is given. You'll be able to listen and participate no matter where you are. Please note, there is an hour long break in the middle of the day. We won't be able to provide food but there is a lovely grassy area and patio out front, and we encourage you to pack a lunch! We will have coffee, tea, and water.]

Agenda for Monday, September 6, 11 am - 2pm
at 21 Grand Gallery, 416 25th Street, Oakland
11 am - Noon

[Potluck brunch]

Noon - 2pm

[Open moderated discussion]

02 September 2010

ON LAND: THIS WEEKEND!







































Four nights of DROOOOONE starting tonight (Thursday): Cafe Dunord // 7:30 pm

Thursday, September 2nd
Barn Owl
Starving Weirdos
Pulse Emitter
Danny Paul Grody
Rene Hell
En

Friday, September 3rd
Oneohtrix Point Never
White Rainbow
Pete Swanson
Operative
Golden Retriever
Aster (Eli Keszler & Ashley Paul)
Robert A.A. Lowe

Saturday, September 4th
The Alps
Zelienople
Xela
Date Palms
Grasslung
Metal Rouge
Le Révélateur

Sunday, September 5th
Charalambides
Grouper
Dan Higgs
Bill Orcutt
Ilyas Ahmed
Common Eider, King Eider
Higuma

East Bay 4 Life

01 September 2010

The Dihedrons Gazelle-Dihedrals Zoom



From Leslie's "Author Note":

"Dihedrons and Gazelle-Dihedrals are human-like creatures. Profoundly injured, they roam jetting space in the form of vertical severed halves. The Dihedrons Gazelle-Dihedrals Zoom was written by leafing through Random House Webster's Unabridged Dictionary choosing words by process of alexia, not as mental disorder but word-blindness: trance-like stream overriding meaning, choice, and inhibition. The intention to bring about an unknown future was changed by this action of alexia making as it happens sensual exquisite corpses—leading to the discovery that there isn't any future, isn't even any present. Such an exquisite corpse, read, is in an instant yet not even in 'a present.' Outside's events unite gluing to each other a single object. That which had already existed is by chance. Dysaphia: as if the people can have no sensations, the writing becomes the sensations that are then felt by everything.

The exquisite corpses are physical as if one such is flesh-butterfly-other-occurrences (real-time events such as the exploding of Mumbai), each event-cluster internally hybrid rather than being separate presentation as idea. That is, the writing is not the idea of the whole framework of occurrences after without its existence ever being."

It should already be clear that you need this. Get it here!